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Health Educ Behav. 2008 Oct;35(5):634-50. Epub 2006 Dec 15.

The WORD (wholeness, oneness, righteousness, deliverance): a faith-based weight-loss program utilizing a community-based participatory research approach.

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  • 1University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205-6720, USA.


Despite multidisciplinary efforts to control the nation's obesity epidemic, obesity has persisted as one of the U.S.'s top public health problems, particularly among African Americans. Innovative approaches to address obesity that are sensitive to the unique issues of African Americans are needed. Thus, a faith-based weight-loss intervention using a community-based participatory research approach was developed, implemented, and evaluated with a rural African American faith community. A two-group, quasi-experimental, delayed intervention design was used, with church as the unit of assignment (treatment n=2, control n=2) and individual as the unit of observation (treatment n=36, control n=37). Weekly small groups led by trained community members met for 8 weeks and emphasized healthy nutrition, physical activity, and faith's connection with health. The mean weight loss of the treatment group was 3.60+/-0.64 lbs. compared to the 0.59+/-0.59-lb loss of the control group.

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